Saturday, 2 August 2008

Lots of ups and downs

It's been awhile since we updated our blog, so we're forcing ourselves to stay awake to do this - it's 10pm!

30 July - we biked from Windermere (Troutbeck) to Carlisle. This was 43 miles. We biked up the Kirkstone pass without too much trouble (very pleased with ourselves), but ended up walking part of the way down when Rachel saw the height from the top down to Brotherswater. So we had a much quicker ascent, but a rather slower descent.

A wonderful, straight, gradual downhill into Carlisle, getting us in at 3. Though Carlisle centre was a bit of a nightmare with traffic, and it took us another hour to find our hostel.

Had a lovely afternoon/evening with Bridget, who very kindly made us dinner!

31 July - Carlisle to Peebles: 69 miles. Upping the miles again now after our easy runnings into, in, and out of the lakes. Another beautiful day through probably the most isolated place we've come across in Britain so far. The Southern Scottish Uplands. Beautiful scenery, no people (so no cars either) and a rather incongruous Tibetan Buddhist monastery, where we stopped for lunch and a little resource-collecting for Joe for next year.

Into Peebles in the pouring rain, and a fantastic B n' B with a shower out of this world.

1 August - Peebles to Perth: 74 miles. From one lovely B n' B to another. Edinburgh was an absolute nightmare. We lost our way, Rachel wasn't feeling well and we were looking close to having to come home, when we finally saw the Firth of Forth Bridge, made a dash for it and, thankfully, didn't look back, speeding into the beautiful Perthshire countryside. Perth itself was absolutely lovely.

2 August - Perth to Aviemore. 89 miles (!!!) This was epic. Uphill from sea level for 60 miles, gradual, but interminable ascent of over 1500 feet. Then an incredible descent for 30 miles into Aviemore. We didn't think we'd make it. The Scottish Highlands are awe-inspiring. We saw a red squirrel and a whole herd of red deer up on a hill overlooking our path (horns and heads silhouetted over the top of the hill). Rachel now has a quite a chronic injury to her left hand, with constant pain and numbness, which she's carried on and off since Preston. (Rachel in the background says 'it's not that bad'). But Joe was impressed we made it. We got in at 8.10pm, having started at 7.45am. We are absolutely knackered, and having let our dinner digest for a little while, we are signing out!

Joe (writing for a change) and Rachel